Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings

St. Jude's Church

Tettenhall Road

Listing:  1867-9.  by W. H. Bidlake. Later C19 spire by T. H. Fleeming.  Decorated Gothic style.

Literature:  Pevsner, p.325:  1867-9 by Bidlake.  Rock-faced, with a SW steeple and geometrical tracery.

Frank Mason, The Book of Wolverhampton, p.26 (ignore the entry in the index, which is wrong).

Comment:  O.K.  So it's a lousy photo.  But in summer you can't see the church for the trees and in winter you still can't find a spot to get a decent view.  If anyone can do better, please let us know. 

The church was built when Tettenhall Road was developing as a high class suburban area.  But in 1867 the population in those parts would have still been quite thinly spread.  This church was built, apparently in advance of requirements, and at the expense of one the nearby residents, who seems to have wanted it for her own convenience. Mason records that "St. Jude's was ... built with private help, Miss Stokes giving the site and £2,000 towards the erection of the church and a further £500 when money ran out before the spire was added.  She laid the foundation stone in June 1860 and the church was consecrated in July 1861".  The church was sometimes simply referred to as "Miss Stokes' Church". 

A printed programme issued for the Jubilee Gala of the Wolverhampton Girls' High School, on 28th May 1960, contains the following curious entry, which gives a different version of the building of the church:

The first number of the School Magazine, which made its appearance in the Summer Term of the year 1915, contained the following contribution from N. WOOD, Form Upper IIIA. Whilst it is felt that the information contained therein will be of considerable interest to all our visitors it would also add considerable colour to know the whereabouts of N. WOOD today.


"In wandering round the School grounds one comes across a miniature stone spire, and wonders how it came there. It may not be known to everybody that this once formed a portion of the original spire belonging to St. Jude's Church, which was erected by the late Mr. Philip Horsman, who lived in the house which now forms the hostel adjoining the School, and by whom St. Jude's Church was built. The Church as we know it now has one graceful spire, but originally it had one main spire and a miniature one by its side. The effect of the two together was very ugly and it was spoken of at the time as an animal with one ear. The adverse criticism was so great that the authorities decided to replace the ugly structure by the very graceful one which we pass every day on our way to School. The small spire criticised as the one ear of the animal, is the stone structure standing in our hostel gardens".

Visitors will find this spire to the left of the grass tennis courts.

The interior of the church. From an old postcard.

Dr. Joy Duff has drawn our attention to an interesting case before the Court of Arches in 1998 which relates to a proposal to alter the interior by removing the doors from the ends of the pews (which are the originals).  It illustrates the conflict which may arise between changing practices and preserving the historic fabric.  The main reason given for removing the doors was "Fellowship" and the new practice of "The Exchange of the Peace".  This is not explained in the report of the case but is understood to be a part of a church service when members of the congregation embrace each other in an expression of fellowship.  The Chancellor, John Shand, observed: "Any practising Anglican knows that this part of the liturgy can be (paradoxically) controversial.  Some feel it to be ... uplifting and moving ... others find it, at best, embarrassing.  Exchange of the Peace is probably here to stay.  Nonetheless it could not justify the removal of artefacts or major aesthetic merit.  These doors probably fall short of that ... but merit a degree of protection".  He granted the faculty sought but subject to the retention of fifteen of the doors.

The red brick rectory next door, visible on the right of the photo at the top, is now locally listed as 96 Tettenhall Road.